Monday, November 20, 2006

Divided Nation

Will house-price falls in Europe bring economic misery to the UK in the next few years? So wonders Anatole Kaletsky in The Times (UK) today. But if we all suffer because a recession has been brought on by a property price crash, at least most home-owners will still keep a large part of their house-price gains of the past 14 years. Pity the home-renters who may also be lumbered with unemployment but not have the comfort of their own home with its substantial value to fall back on if they need it.

Being poor can mean that you have difficulties in obtaining a basic bank account says Caroline Merrell, also today in The Times. She says this can affect the ability to get a job or start a business. Of eight banks, profits have risen from 9% to 37 % for seven, with only one having a fall. For the top earning bank, profits for 6 months were £6.5bn. In The Free Lunch - Fairness with Freedom there is an explanation of how banking works, how this banking profit arises and for suggestions as to how we could move to a fairer society by funding a Citizen's Income from banking profit (see Blog: 20 Oct).

The rich/poor divide has not improved during New Labour's first 10 booming years. A report in the paper from Paul Donovan of UBS the investment bank, prompts Gary Duncan to suggest that due to globalisation the poor in the industrial nations will get poorer still in future. The poorest 10% of households have lower disposable incomes than 10 years ago, have to pay the increased prices for food and fuel and are likely to suffer high crime rates in their neighbourhoods.

We are a shockingly divided nation. The Free Lunch - Fairness with Freedom exposes the way our society's economic system skews future wealth gains in favour of those some wealth already. It suggests how reform could give back to the economically downtrodden of our society the resources and human dignity that is their due. The book is for anyone who hopes that 'Love your neighbour as yourself' might be more than a religious platitude. (http//

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